Mariazelle Goonetilleke

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Mariazelle Goonetilleke
Maria 1.jpg
Sri Lankan Superstar
Background information
Origin Colombo, Sri Lanka
Genres Rock, pop, Sri Lankan music, Baila
Occupation(s) Singer, musician
Instruments Vocals
guitar
Years active 1960s – Present

Mariazelle Goonetilleke is a Sri Lankan singer and musician. She has performed not only in Sri Lanka but also as far as the United Kingdom, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Australia.

Early years[edit]

Mariazelle Goonetilleke was born in Nugegoda located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She began her music career at the age of seven. At the age of ten Mariazelle won the junior section of the Ceylon Observer All Island Talent Competition. This allowed her to join a pre-teen group of young musicians called the "Junior Rhythmiers", a popular Sri Lankan music group. The group became well known in the 1960s when they were featured on Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia. It "ruled the airwaves" during the 1950s and 1960s, so any exposure on Radio Ceylon was a huge boost to young artists on the island.[1]

She studied classical guitar tutored by the renowned classical guitarist, the late Winston Jayawardene, and vocal music with Mrs. Estelle de Niese. Goonetilleke attended St. Joseph's Convent School in Nugegoda.

Kandy Lamissi[edit]

According to the Sunday Observer of Colombo winning the Ceylon Observer Talent Contest "gave her more courage to play with bands like the Emeralds and the Midnight Mist". Recording "Kandy Lamissi" in 1977 was thought to be the turning point in her career. The song was an instant hit and Mariazelle came to be known by that name.

The success of "Kandy Lamissi" allowed her to perform not only in Sri Lanka but also in top hotels like Soaltee Oberoi in Kathmandu, Nepal. In the same year, she met with an accident in Nuwara Eliya and sustained serious injuries to her spine and collar bone. Helped by a classmate at the time, Christine Nadarajah, she claimed that her belief in God and community prayers saw her out from that dark period. After being released from hospital, Mariazelle had the privilege of being helped by Sri Lankan legends like: Clarence Wijewardene, the Emperor of Baila, M. S. Fernando, Stanley Peiris, Ajantha Ranasinghe, Chandral Fonseka and Sunil/Piyal of the Gypsies. The compositions of Clarence and others allowed her to perform with a different style and their songs attracted music lovers. Ajantha's composition "Sihina Nelum Mal" was dedicated to her son, Teshan now studying in England.[2]

Music Genre[edit]

Mariazelle has performed songs in a wide range of musical genres from western pop music to Sri Lankan Baila. She is now well known as a leading Baila singer, performing her massive hit "Kandy Lamissi", all over the world. American Fulbright Scholar, Vasana Kelum de Mel, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said, "Since I feel it is an essential issue to study the 'gender Baila' as well, the work of the female Baila singers like Mariazelle Goonetilleke and Corinne Almeida should also be appreciated."[3]

She has also collaborated with some of Sri Lanka's top musicians, among them: Sunil Perera of the Gypsies, M.S. Fernando, Dalreen Suby, Clarence Wijewardena, Annesley Malewana, Damian Wickramatilleke, Maxi Rozairo, Shanelle Fernando, Umara Sinhawansa, Ashanthi De Alwis and Raj Seneviratne.[4]

Mariazelle spoke about her own struggles, and her rise to fame, in 2003 in an interview with the Sri Lankan Sunday Observer: "To have remained as I am in the music scene for 35 years, retaining and who and what I am is a most difficult thing. It's a feeling of elation because of the struggles I have faced to come out on top."[5]

The Island newspaper in Colombo noted that,

"Kandy Lamissi"'s hitmaker Mariazelle Goonetilleke, is another local artiste who is very much in demand with Sri Lankans, domiciled abroad. She is regularly seen in Melbourne, London, the Middle East, Canada and most foreign cities where Sri Lankan Associations exist. Her popularity abroad could be attributed to her versatility, she could handle most songs with ease – be it Sinhala, English, Hindi or Tamil.Mariazelle also has the ability to communicate with her audience in a friendly manner. And most people like her style.[6]

Christian Faith[edit]

Mariazelle became a committed Christian in 2009. According to The Island newspaper:"Mariazelle is very much into religion and has taken God as her friend and saviour."[6] She joined the People's Church in Colombo. Mariazelle said: "I have sung all my life but now there is singing in my heart. The greatest song I sing is with God as my audience."[7]

In 2010, Mariazelle Goonetilleke celebrated 42 years, in the world of entertainment, in South Asia.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "When Ceylon ruled the airwaves". Archived from the original on 19 December 2008. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  2. ^ ""Kandy Lamissi" Mariazelle:Baila Queen". Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Bring out the bongos". Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Raj's One Land soon on air, Daily News, Sri Lanka". Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "30 + 5 = A Celebration!". Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "London Scene for Mariazelle" (PDF). Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "My Life Changing Moment & Testimony English 16 08 09". Retrieved 23 August 2010. 

External links[edit]